TEU women’s officer Suzanne McNabb hopes paid parental leave will be easier to access and more suitable for modern workplaces once the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) modernises the Parental Leave Act.
MBIE is reviewing the act in the wake of significant political debate overSue Moroney’s bill to increase Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks. Despite enough support from the majority of MPs, the bill did not become law before parliament stopped for the election because the National Party prevented that happening through ‘filibustering’ (delaying) tactics.
However, the pressure of the 26 Weeks for Babies campaign meant that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment MBIE is reviewing the Parental Leave Act (Modernising Parental Leave) to improve access and flexibility.
As part of its review, the ministry is considering extending paid parental leave entitlement to less regular (or non-standard) employees and to employees who have recently changed jobs or experienced gaps in employment. It proposes to recognise more diverse family arrangements and enabling employees to work limited days (Keeping in Touch days) during the paid parental leave period.
Suzanne McNabb says most of the ministry’s proposals are positive, and are the result of sustained pressure from the 26 for Babies campaign lobbying for changes.
In the tertiary sector many women on fixed-term agreements are ineligible for paid parental leave, despite often having worked for the same employer for a number of years.
“These changes will be good for women if they are implemented well. They are the result of women getting involved in the 26 for Babies campaign and pressuring for positive change.”
Suzanne McNabb says TEU will be making a detailed submission to the review but is also encouraging supporters of the 26 for Babies campaign to endorse the coalition’s short electronic submission, which continues to push for 26 weeks of paid leave to be a key platform of modernising parental leave.